August 15, 2005
Various parts of Holland, August 15, 2005
I've gone from writing two diary entries in six weeks, to writing two entries in two weeks. What can I say, there is just too much to write about when it comes to the post-Tour crits...
I did two more crits at Roosendaal and Surhuisterveen before heading back to Italy for two one-days. Roosendaal is one of the bigger crits and this year was no exception, with another large crowd. It is also one of the roughest circuits, with almost the whole course being on pave. After having most of the crits in the south of Holland (and we are staying in North Holland), the one time we actually wanted a crit near the Belgium border, Sirhurstaveen was as far north in Holland as you could go. I had to fly out of Brussels at 10am the following morning to head back to Italy, so it now meant that we had a big drive ahead of us, and got up early to head to the airport.
While Russ stayed in Holland to race at Marstricht, Oostvorne and Marheeze, I headed back to Italy to race Camaiore and Lazio. It was strange to not have to race at night with clear lenses in your glasses, rug up because it's so cold and have trouble sleeping cause the race finished at 11pm. Instead it was back to having pasta for breaky, 38 degrees and mountains everywhere.
I lined up in Camaiore wondering how the form would be. I had raced a lot and back into the scheme of things, but my body was pretty thrashed from late night racing, travelling and less sleep. Well I soon found out, and it wasn't good news. I hit out to go with a few early breaks and straight away knew my legs were left on the plane. I'd attack off the front and go nowhere! I missed the break, and after the team putting extra pressure on me in particular, they weren't rapped when 25 guys went up the road and nobody was in it. I couldn't have done much about it though; when ya stuffed, ya stuffed! I had to chase the break for 5km to the bottom of the climb, 1km up the climb and then pulled out and went training. As I went backwards on the climb Timothy Jones from Tenax said to me jokingly 'put that in ya diary willo...'
After the race we drove to coast of Rome where we were to stay for two nights. When I got there I couldn't believe the resort we were staying at. I thought it but dared not to say it, but when my director said - good for a holiday ay boys", I had to laugh. The next day after a two hour roll, a couple of good feeds, a swim, a sunbake, a kip and a massage I felt human again.
Lazio used to be a 1.HC but with the new Pro Tour that means nothing now, which is a shame. It was still a good field but nothing like when it was a semi-classic. My legs were a bit better today but still had that tiredness. I got popped on the second last climb after 150km and rode to the finish to get 200km in the legs before starting another epic journey.
I jumped on a plane to Brussels and landed at 11pm. Harro and Jess were there to pick me up. Next bit was pretty simple; an hour's drive to Antwerpen, and maybe a beer and a catch up before going to bed, right? No, of course not! Harro told me his car 'muff' had been having troubles. As he told me this good 'ol Muff didn't start, so we gave her a push start out of the car park. No worries and we're off. Then after about 20mins we noticed we were passing cars at 80km/h in a 130km zone - there was no petrol, water was hot, no revs on the speedo, lights were dim, blinkers wouldn't work and the radio had stopped. Everything electrical had stopped (including all the gauges on the console going haywire) and the battery light was on. I made a quick call that it was the altinator. The car stopped two times in the next 20km and it was lucky that it was dark and just started raining to make things easier. We found a rock on the side of the road, gave the altinator a tap tap tappy and it got us home after one or two more stops. Another late night though. A tap with the hammer the next morning though and all's good. Haven't had problems since and they've driven halfway around Holland to do the crits.
Sunday was an official RE day and we gee'd an Aussie Barbie with all the boys there. Harro and Jess made the trip from Antwerpen, Jens Mouris, Andy "dj Cush" is still here along with Ant 'the dog' Challenor, (who gave himself a Mr T haircut!) and many others. Didn't realise you could get that many Aussies into a town that small. It was just a pity we had dodgy weather. Its been 15-17 degrees and raining during the day, and its summer. I think it was 20 degrees the other day in Sydney and it's winter. The last two days I did two more crits, Emmen and Zwolle. The latter of the two being our home race. In Zwolle you could have been mistaken for thinking it was an open in Oz with Russ, me, Harro and the Dog all riding. Without a doubt the best crit of all.
I now have a few more days here before I head back to Italy for four one-dayers. Then after that I'm back home to Oz. With the team heading to Colombia in September I have an early mark home. I have never been home so early and haven't lined up in the Coota Annual since 1999, which is my first race back in Oz.